Source: Public Patent Foundation, Monsanto Company and the Cornucopia Institute
The Public Patent Foundation (PUBPAT) filed suit against Monsanto Company on behalf of 60 family farmers, seed businesses and organic agricultural organizations to challenge the chemical giant's patents on genetically modified seed. The organic plaintiffs claim they were forced to sue preemptively to protect themselves from being accused of patent infringement should they ever become contaminated by Monsanto's genetically modified seed.
The case, Organic Seed Growers & Trade Association, et al. v. Monsanto, was filed in federal district court in Manhattan and assigned to Judge Naomi Buchwald. Plaintiffs in the suit represent a broad array of family farmers, small businesses and organizations from within the organic agriculture community who are increasingly threatened by genetically modified seed contamination despite using their best efforts to avoid it. The plaintiff organizations have over 270,000 members, including thousands of certified organic family farmers.
According to Monsanto, the lawsuit is a publicity stunt. In a statement, Monsanto said the following:
"We've briefly read the allegations of the PUBPAT suit and press statement and find many of these allegations to be false, misleading and deceptive.
- "It has never been, nor will it be Monsanto policy to exercise its patent rights where trace amounts of our patented seed or traits are present in farmer's fields as a result of inadvertent means.
- "Biotechnology crops have provided a wealth of benefits to farmers and the environment. It is well established that farmers growing biotech crops realize many benefits including increased yields and lower production costs, and the use of these crops have resulted in an increase in the adoption of conservation tillage practices that reduce soil erosion. These benefits are the reason why farmers have overwhelmingly and willingly chosen to use these technologies year after year. These crops have been grown widely in the United States for the past 15 years, and have been planted on more than 2 billion acres by 15 million farmers throughout the world.
- "Plaintiffs' allegations regarding patent validity are contrary to long established legal precedent which supports the validity of Monsanto's patents and others in the biotechnology field."